The number of teller assist units deployed in 26 key markets reached 186,500 by year-end 2016, a modest increase for the year, according to Teller Automation and Branch Transformation 2017, a new RBR study.
Furthermore, the research and consulting firm forecasts that the number of TAUs at financial institutions worldwide will continue to rise over the next five years, despite increased cost pressures and falling branch numbers.
RBR finds that TAUs significantly reduce time spent on transactions and end-of-day reconciliation and free up branch staff for cross-selling activities. But despite these benefits, many institutions still have not taken advantage of TAU technology.
According to the research, just three countries account for 60 percent of the world’s TAUs — the United States, Spain and Italy. The U.S. is the largest market overall, with one-quarter of all TAUs.
RBR forecasts that the number of TAUs in the U.S. will continue to increase — particularly among smaller banks — and that Italy will see a more modest rise.
In Spain, where branch numbers have been declining, the number of TAUs will also decline, RBR said.
Potential for future growth in TAU numbers lies in countries such as Mexico and South Africa, due to branch transformation activity. Deployment of TAUs is still in its infancy in China, where many banks are approaching the end of pilot projects.
The Chinese market will show strong growth in the coming years, although overall deployment of TAUs will remain low as banks focus on moving transactions to self‑service channels.
More than half of all TAUs previously deployed in the U.S. are cash-dispensing only, but here, as in almost all markets, banks now show a clear preference for recyclers, which save teller time and reduce CIT costs. RBR predicts that by 2021, recyclers will account for 84 percent of all TAUs.